Chris Graham for New Matilda writes:
The problem with telling grown women that they need to adopt certain habits and behaviours in order to make themselves more safe is that you’re not telling them anything they don’t already know, and haven’t already known since they were old enough to understand the concept of stranger danger.
Unfortunately, the problems with the UNSW email don’t stop there. Firstly, the content of the email does precisely nothing to deter offenders from offending. It’s not even written for them, which begs the question, why write it at all? Secondly, the email also tells women who are the victims of sexual assault or rape, that there were things they could have and should have done to prevent what happened. In other words, that they are partly to blame.
If you’re a man, and you’re still lost, flip it around and you might find it a little easier to understand. If you’re at the pub having a beer and some random idiot walks up and punches you in the face, you’re probably not going to react too well to police (or the publican) sending you an email to let you know that you could reduce the chances of being randomly assaulted by not going to the pub for a beer.
Sometimes, it takes a lot of repetition for some messages to sink in. But the message on this occasion is not that women need tips on increasing their personal safety. It’s that personal safety is a basic human right, and we all have a collective responsibility to work harder to ensure it’s fully extended to ALL members of our community. Because at the moment, what we’re doing is clearly not working.